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Archive for the “Common Sense Solutions” Category

In this season of our discontent, I was cheered by a wonderful proposal from the Kauffman Foundation last month that is aptly called the Startup Act.

The proposal, which already has bi-partisan support in Congress, is a simple, elegant, and cost free way of accelerating the growth of startups and young businesses. What’s not to like?

As anyone knows who reads this blog, I’ve been bitching for two years about the Mt. Everests of unnecessary and growing new regulation being foisted on our small business community by the current government. Well, here’s a proactive and specific solution.

Carl Schramm, CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, says, “With a recent Kauffman study indicating that new companies are starting smaller and staying smaller, and with our unemployment crisis, it is more important than ever for policy makers to create an environment that makes it easier for more startups to survive, grow and add jobs.” (Kauffman Foundation press release-July 19, 2011)

The Startup Act emphasizes the central role startups and entrepreneurs must play for the U.S. to escape the current recession. (It is acknowledged, even by the current administration, that any growth in American jobs will have to be driven by the health and new formation of entrepreneurial firms.)

To oversimplify here’s what the Startup Act says:

  1. Welcoming immigrants capable of building high-growth companies to the U.S. by providing “Entrepreneurs’ Visas” and green cards.
  2. Reducing the cost of capital through capital gains tax relief.
  3. Reducing barriers to IPOs by allowing shareholders to opt out of Sarbanes-Oxley.
  4. Charging higher fees for patent applicants who want quick decisions, thus removing a bottleneck of applications in the Patent Office.
  5. Having the government publish data ranking the startup friendliness of states and localities.
  6. And, finally (this is my favorite), regular sunsets for regulations and a policy of only putting new regulations in place if their benefits exceed their costs.

This is simple and practical stuff that should pass Congress with little controversy. And, for once, it shows real concern for a reinvigoration of the beating heart of American business. It is a partial antidote to the poisonous 2,000+ page micromanagement of both Dodd-Frank and Obamacare. Simple.

As the late George Meredith put it in The Ordeal of Richard Feverel (1859), “Perfect simplicity is unconsciously audacious.” Much like entrepreneurship.

Thank you, George.

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